How Lancashire's NHS chiefs could rake in millions

Trust bosses could cash in on huge assets

By Mike Hill
Friday, 5th March 2021, 12:30 pm

Lancashire and South Cumbria Trust could make millions of pounds from selling land it owns, figures reveal.

NHS Digital data shows Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust has identified two sites it could sell for an estimated £3.5m.

Of those, one is linked to a site used for clinical or medical purposes – a plot at Ridge Lea Hospital (a vacant building).

Lancashire and South Cumbria Trust could make millions of pounds by selling land

The trust is actively seeking to dispose of the site.

All sites earmarked for disposal sit on a total area of around five hectares and could accommodate 80 new homes.

It is deemed suitable for housing.

The collection of data on surplus NHS land first began in 2008 in order to provide information on sites that can be disposed of, to contribute to the Public Land for Housing programme.

The programme is part of a Government plan to release land to boost its housing delivery.

We Own It, a group campaigning against privatisation, warned that selling off NHS assets shrinks capacity in the health service, which is needed now more than ever.

However, the Department for Health and Social Care said trusts are only encouraged to sell land when it is no longer required to deliver services.

Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It, said: “Selling off NHS assets is a false economy at the best of times, but in the middle of a pandemic it’s even more wrong-headed.

“The NHS has a massive backlog of surgery, treatment and care to deal with, on top of the astronomical pressures Covid has put on the health service. “Our NHS nurses, doctors and healthcare staff have been working flat-out throughout the Covid crisis.”

She said the Government should develop NHS land and assets to clear the backlog and ensure people get the operations they need.

“Instead of making a quick buck with short term sell offs, it’s time to build the NHS we’ll need for the decades ahead,” she added.

A DHSC spokesman said: “To prevent trusts from being burdened with the additional cost of maintaining redundant facilities, the NHS is empowered to sell land that is no longer required, or unsuitable for modern clinical care, and reinvest money in upgrading facilities.

“We are investing billions to deliver 40 new hospitals around the country and ensure the NHS estate is fit for the future, including £450m to upgrade A&Es and help trusts continue to deliver safe and accessible services through winter.”